Long Term Disability Insurance Lawyers in PEI
Fighting for the rights of disabled workers
Long-term disability insurance is supposed to act as a safety net in the event that someone is unable to work because of injury or illness. Nobody expects to use their LTD insurance benefits, but they pay their premiums every month because they want the peace of mind to know that they’ll be covered if something happens. The unfortunate reality is the big insurance companies are not there when disabled workers need them. They wrongly deny claims and unfairly cut off benefits to people who rely on that money to make ends meet.
NOVA Injury Law is here to push back against the insurance companies and help injured workers gain access to the long-term disability benefits they deserve.
The vast majority of our long-term disability work starts because one of two things happens:
1. the injured person’s application for benefits is rejected by the insurance company
2. the injured person’s benefits are cut-off
Depending on the specifics of the insurance policy and the reason for denial, the best strategy may be to skip any internal appeal process and jump right into filing a lawsuit against the insurance company for breach of contract. The same insurance company that denied the claim initially isn’t likely to change their mind after their own review. Disabled workers can access their benefits sooner if they don’t bother with the appeal.
The technical definition of disability is set out in the insurance policy, and most policies contain wording that shifts that definition after a period of time. If preexisting benefits are cut off at the so-called ‘change of definition’ date, disabled workers have options. Most often, the definition of “disabled” changes from an ‘own-occupation’ standard to an ‘any-occupation’ standard. This means that in order to qualify as disabled, a person no longer has to be unable to complete the duties of their regular job but must now be unable to complete the duties of any job. Essentially, if there is a job that you would be reasonably able and qualified to do, the insurance company will terminate benefits.
These decisions are often made by medical consultants hired by the insurance company, and they’re not always fair. This is often where the lawyers at NOVA Injury Law step in to help convince the insurance company that somebody should be entitled to their long-term disability benefits.
We build claims on expert medical evidence. We need to prove that the person is injured or ill and that injury or illness prevents them from working. The first step is an assessment of the medical facts by our legal team and our in-house doctor. We look at the person’s health and the specific wording in their long-term disability insurance policy, and then we develop a personalized legal strategy for every single client.
A well-executed claim will result in one of three main possibilities: the person’s health will improve such that they are able to work again, their benefits will be reinstated, or they will receive a lump-sum payment to give up their policy.
At the end of the day, this is a long, arduous process, and it leaves disabled workers feeling discouraged and abandoned. NOVA Injury Law manages claims so our clients can focus on other priorities. We fight for disabled workers’ health and recovery. Anyone who has had their application for long-term disability benefits denied or is cut off from their long-term disability benefits should contact NOVA Injury Law for a free case review. There’s no cost, and you’ll get a lawyer’s opinion on your case within 24 hours or less.
What is Long Term Disability?
Long-term disability insurance is marketed as a stop-gap if someone becomes unable to work. Usually, people access these insurance policies through their workplace but it is possible to buy individual coverage. Usually, LTD benefits kick in when the following benefits end:
- short-term disability insurance
- sick leave benefits from your employer
- EI benefits
Every disability plan is different, but most long-term disability plans will replace 60% to 70% of normal income. Check the wording in your policy for specific details about what qualifies as “disabled” and if there is a “change of definition” date.
Am I Still Employed While on Long-Term Disability?
Yes, you are employed as long as your employment has not been terminated by your employer.
In most cases, employers can terminate workers whenever they want, as long as the termination is not for a discriminatory purpose. Usually, employers will not terminate workers who collect LTD benefits but allow the claimant to remain employed on approved sick leave for up to two years.
We do see employers move to terminate disabled workers after two years. When faced with termination of employment, it’s a good idea to seek legal advice.
Usually, employers will not immediately terminate an employee who is on long-term disability. While they have the right to do so, it can be difficult for them to prove that the termination is not related to discrimination based on disability. Most employers will therefore allow the claimant to remain employed on approved sick leave for up to two years.
How Much Does a Disability Lawyer Cost?
The long-term disability lawyers at NOVA Injury Law work on a contingency fee basis. Our fees are contingent on our client’s settlement. We don’t ever send our clients bills for our services, and we pay the costs associated with building the case. Depending on the financial risk to the firm and the scope of the work required, the eventual fee is a percentage of the final settlement.
How Long Before Long-Term Disability Starts?
Depending on your policy, there is usually a required waiting period of three to six months, during which time you must be continuously disabled before you qualify for LTD benefits. Some people collect short-term disability benefits or EI sickness benefits during the waiting period.
Are Long-Term Disability Benefits Taxable?
Typically, if someone pays their entire disability premium themselves, their disability benefits will be tax-free. In these cases, disability benefits can even approach 100% of pre-disability take-home income.
If the employer pays any part of the disability premium, the disability benefits are subject to income taxes.
What to Do if Your LTD Benefits Are Denied or Cut Off
Denial and termination letters from insurance companies can be tough pills to swallow. The first thing a person should do when they receive a denial letter makes a copy and store it in a safe place. It may be valuable to their appeal or lawsuit in the future.
These letters are a threat to long-term disability benefits and must be considered carefully. Claimants need to figure out why they were denied, and from there, they can determine the best way to overturn the decision.
NOVA Injury Law is the right law firm to help long-term disability claimants. We know what it takes to reverse these decisions, and we make the process as easy as possible for our clients. If you or someone you know has been denied or cut off from their long-term disability insurance benefits, call NOVA Injury Law for a free case review.